Moms of boys: whether you have one boy or more, keep these tips in mind as you raise kind, curious, and confident kids in today’s world.
After I had my eldest, I thought the ideal sibling combo would be to give my son a little sister. I even had a name for her—Naomi. So, imagine my surprise when I learned that not only would I be having twins, but that both would be boys.
Of course, the comments flooded in, and continue even today:
“Whoa, you must be tired!”
“You’re going to be a soccer mom.”
“So, are you going to try for a girl?”
Moms of boys, you know what I’m talking about. Whether you have one boy or three (or more!), we need to be conscious of bringing up our boys.
I used to think we should disregard gender in parenting. That we feed the fire when we parent according to whether our kids are girls or boys or succumb to the stereotypes.
3 lessons moms of boys need to teach
Since then, I’ve learned that we should teach kids lessons that do arise because of their genders.
Boys and girls are different, and not always in a bad way or in every typical way. We also have to make sure that they’re not bound by those stereotypes, and that we’re not perpetuating them ourselves. Because being moms of boys means teaching them values we’d want them to hold even as adults.
So, how can we be more conscious as moms of boys in today’s world? Check out these three important lessons we should teach our kids:
1. Be kind and gentle
Kindness in boys can get lost, especially when we assume or value anything but. We praise their assertiveness, their speed, their ambition—but we don’t always applaud them for their gentle and kind ways.
Let’s teach our boys that being kind and gentle goes a long way. Let’s bring up boys who:
- Befriend a classmate who may not be as popular as others
- Care for animals, from pets to insects
- Appreciate nature and all it can offer us
- Comfort a sibling when she feels sad or hurt
- Shows empathy to others
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2. Don’t put girls down
I get it.
The cooties. The inclination for kids to befriend same-sex friends. The phases we all go through when we don’t like girls or boys. But we can do much to teach our boys to treat girls well.
Yes, this is a phase many kids seem to go through, but it doesn’t mean we should brush aside inappropriate behavior or comments.
For instance, correct them when they put girls down, however innocently. “Actually, girls are pretty awesome. I’m a girl, after all.” Or refrain from teasing when they befriend a girl in class (“Oooh, is she your girlfriend?”).
All kids will go through stages where they behave in a strange way to sort their feelings and confusion about the opposite sex. They’ll also follow social influence and peer pressure. But as moms of boys, we can teach them to respect girls despite all that.
3. Explore their interests (whatever they may be)
What’s your typical boy? You might imagine lots of cars, trains, trucks, and airplanes. Maybe a science or engineering kit. And of course, sports like soccer, baseball, hockey.
But what if your son has no interest in any of that? What if his interests are so far away from your own expectations? Whereas you imagined soccer practice, he’d much rather do theater or music.
Or what if his interests seem strange to you, regardless of gender? He’s fascinated with vacuum cleaners or waterfalls or collecting rocks—things you never knew would even interest kids.
Just because you’re a mom of boys, that doesn’t mean you’ll be a soccer mom or do typical boy things. Our kids should explore any interest, regardless of what they may be. Whether they fit into our expectations or hopes for them.
Allow your boys to be who they are and be curious about their world, even if it doesn’t always fit into typical boy things.
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Regardless of how far we’ve come, men continue to have an unfair advantage over women. We reward men’s ambitions and scoff women’s. We see leadership in men and supporting roles in women. And many of the stereotypes we hold about each gender continues to play out, for good or bad.
As moms of boys, it’s exciting and humbling to think about raising a generation of future adults.
Our kids will shape the world, whether in big ways or small. Let’s raise boys who will be gentle and kind as they are ambitious and strong. Boys who will respect and work with girls, rather than see them as secondary.
And boys who are free to pursue any passions, no matter how strange or “typically boy” they may be.
Get more tips:
- How to Praise Your Child for a Growth Mindset
- How to Raise a Kind Child
- Why You Shouldn’t Say “Good Job!” to Kids (and What to Say Instead)
- How to Deal with Gender Disappointment During Your Pregnancy
- Children’s Books about Empathy to Read with Your Child
And check out A Boy Like You by Frank Murphy, a beautiful children’s book celebrating boys for being who they are:
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